“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promises, it costs nothing” – Edmund Burke
…and so goes the ground rule for every election campaign. Be it politics, society, judiciary, or any other aspect of this 21st century community it seems everyone has their own hidden agenda. India is far from perfect with colossal hurdles in all aspect of governance but bear with me when I say that the mother of all evil is none but hypocrisy.
Reality declares honesty is never the best policy and ‘practice what we preach’ is almost obsolete. This situation seems to define corruption in its true form. From the biggest criminal scandals to traffic policing more often than not justice has been given a lucrative coating. Take the Jadavpur police interference controversy; the atrocities committed by the ‘hired’ so called police are a disgrace to face of judiciary that they represent. The government wants to fight and reduce rape; but how will that be possible without even considering post marital rape and even worse, socially derogating the victim for life. If the very people we depend on for safety become unapproachable, then where does the common man seek refuge? This unfortunately does not limit only to governance but even in professions like education and health. From seeking admission in schools to successfully procuring a degree, money before merit seems to be the slogan. One can almost sarcastically claim to be ‘buying’ the preferred degree with distinction than achieving the same. As a child I had the misfortune of coming across teachers who would not appreciate a student’s talent in school unless they are enrolled in their after school tuition. How different is it from purchasing grades. The consequence of this does not end in academia itself as it generates professionals who are completely inept in their fields. At the end of the day their clients are at the receiving end of this malpractice and with it goes down the efficiency of the country. Playing with lives for financially elevating one’s own is seen most prominently in the health field. The conquest for the correct diagnosis is so elaborate, that by the time proper aid is received the patient is already on his death-bed and the family is bankrupt in the process. Here the power of money is not in blame but it is the hypocritical mentality of the people who give fuel to this corruption of such magnitude.
The other demon to social stability and one of the biggest issues of date is the pursuit of equality. I guess one can safely agree that the Indian society can only pursue for equality but never truly acquire it. Be it religion, caste, class, gender and in a more daily level, looks, people will continue to proclaim to propagate equality yet judge those that differ on the same grounds. It is a lie to say that in marital affairs or in voting, caste, religion, creed and class is no longer a matter of concern. It is a lie to say that people no matter their financial status have the same rights when the homeless are not allowed to even enter posh shopping mall. It is a lie to pretend that men and women are equal because here half the country suppresses women while in other half, the men are misjudged and ill-treated in the name of women empowerment and feminism. The theory of equality in our society is by far the issue that is most affected with hypocrisy than anything else. Claiming equal status without eliminating the notion of superiority among the very same citizens is hypocrisy caught red-handed.
Caste prejudice is a plague whose roots delve deep into Indian history and has become equally tough to uproot. The Constitutional policies that dilute this are all-the-more intensifying the contrast. If the same opportunities were given to those truly living a lifestyle devoid of such options then not only would we have had better social unity but also would have gone another mile in eradicating poverty and bettering standards of living but no hypocrisy marks this too as its territory. Another significant field of unfairness is that of religion. Cases like Shah Bano episode and the low pan-Indian representation of Muslims in the government do suggest remains and potential return of the Hindu-Muslim intolerance.
Coming to the issue of gender even though the situation is improving the balance of rights still remain currently the most widely assessed international problem. One can write books on this solitary subject but all I would like to conclude is that both sexes are different but instead of looking down on one another and oppressing each for their weaknesses why not respect their strengths and use each other’s capabilities for the betterment of the human species as a whole. In fact this holds for all people in general. Instill this into the minds of the youths and prejudice would long be forgotten. “All Indians are my brothers and sisters…” well it is high time that the nation matures itself to claim their brothers and sisters as human as themselves. United we stand divided we fall; so let’s learn from history and stop this inequity.
Finally I would like to address an emerging problem of freedom. It is a question to ponder upon that after 67 years from independence can we say that we have the fundamental freedom of speech and of thought? Incidences like the AIB roast reveal a level of hypocrisy in this as well. Ironically, it is ok to verbally offend complete strangers but when done the same on a staged platform for an audience who chose to pay for such entertainment it becomes a big controversy. As I see it insult comedy would soon be made illegal if this continues. Censorship is one thing and restriction of freedom is another. This difference is something that remains to be understood.
Another more prominent is the right to love. India still needs to come out of the closet regarding this. Gay rights being made illegal speaks for itself when I say the society has not evolved mentally as has the rest of the world. Its hypocrisy to hope to reduce rape with the mentality that women are “asking for it” when wearing the clothes of their choice; an hypocrisy that we are all Indians yet call our north-eastern brothers “Chinki”; it’s a hypocrisy to call everyone is born equal, then bias each other not only for those factors I have spoken about but also for their looks, their weight and their complexion.
Remedies of these can only come from changing the mentality of the nation. This cannot happen from the head of state but from the family, the youth. To remain true by word and action and show humanity. As for solutions on the political level, “Caste based affirmative action (reservations) clearly perpetuates an “us versus them” psychology”* which could be modified for better effect. The constitution and laws to be refined and cope with the rapidly changing society to mend the loose ends that make the system hypocritical in so many ways. And lastly to respect the freedom rights of the citizens and not to make promises one can’t keep.
For this governance, is by the people, for the people and, if one thing should change in this democracy, in my view, it should be without a doubt, the eradication of hypocrisy.